(Un)Hidden Sexuality in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948)

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This session will consider Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948, psychological thriller Rope, a film that is famous for its use of (open secrecy) in both form and content. The film’s technical endeavour to present itself in real time is achieved by a number of hidden cuts within the editing. This concealment in form mirrors the film’s content, which is about two co-habiting male friends who murder a third simply for the thrill of it. The killers then hide the body in a wooden chest in their parlour before hosting a dinner party for the victim’s friends and family. The secret body in the room (from other characters) serves as a metaphorical subtext of another idea that Hitchcock is putting forward to its 1948 audience: the killers are lovers. The crime of murder thus becomes a metaphor for same-sex relations which at the time of filming was considered illegal and against the rules of the Hays Production Code. This session will discuss the use of metaphor throughout Rope along with Hitchcock’s concurrently advanced and adverse representations of queer characters, which are simultaneously progressive for having centre- stage but also problematic for being villainous.



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SKU: Alfred-Hitchcock Categories: Cinematography, Identity




Daniel O'Brien

Speaker: Daniel O’Brien

Dr Daniel O’Brien is a Lecturer and Researcher in Film and Digital Media at theUniversity of Essex. He has published work on film, gaming, interactive art and video essays across a range of academic journals, books and audio-visual collections.
Vimeo / NECSUS Journal

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